Riaño dam, Spain

Description

Riaño dam was one case of forced relocation of population in Spain, in the 1980, during the democracy period, by the Socialist government. It is located in Leon in the north-west of Spain, in a region of great natural and landscape values, with very relevant fauna and endangered species like the brown bear Ursus arctos pyrenaicus and western capercaillie Tetrao urogallus.

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Basic Data
NameRiaño dam, Spain
CountrySpain
ProvinceLeon
SiteRiaño
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesWater
Electricity
Land
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsUses of this dam in the Esla river are said to be irrigation and hydroelectric.

The reservoir´s capacity is 641.35 hm3. It could supply 32,000 ha of irrigated land. It is reported that irrigation works have not been done.

The installed hydropower is 85 MW.
Project Area (in hectares) 2,165
Level of Investment (in USD)80,442,500
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population5,000
Start Date1982
Company Names or State EnterprisesR. Lopez Gonzalez is stated to be the works promotor. from Spain
Iberdrola from Spain
Relevant government actorsDuero river Water Authority , Ministry of Public Works and Urbanism .
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAsociación Riaño Vive, Asociación por la recuperación del valle de Riaño, COAGRET Coordinadora de Afectados por Grandes Embalses y Trasvases.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Graffiti and other expressions in the valley. At least one case of suicide.
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
OtherSuicides (Simón Pardo committed suicide)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Deaths
Migration/displacement
Repression
Development of AlternativesThe Association proposes, first, the dam´s opening, emptying the dam, and restoration of the valley, otherwise the decrease on the reservoir level to the 1,080m above sea level in order to recover part of the valley, in compensation for the hectares finally non-irrigated, compensantion of these land for the local owners, re-forestation of these valley zones.

They also propose the substitution of the electricity produced by the dam by a solar power facility in part of the finally non-irrigated land.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The mobilisation was unsuccessful, the authorities imposed the original plan by using force.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Ley de Aguas 29/1985.

References

On Iberdrola's debt for the Riaño dam
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Article by Ramiro Pinto (leader of opposition to the dam, Green party)
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Iberdrola's debt for the Riaño dam
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Links

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Official and technical information:
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Description of the project
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The plaform for emptying the dam, recuperating the valley
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La Cuenca del Duero
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[1] Los vecinos de Riaño culpan del suicidio de Simón Pardo a la situación de "acoso"
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Media Links

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Video on demolitions and forced displacement:
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More videos
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Meta Information
ContributorJoan Martinez Alier
Last update30/06/2014
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